Hooray for Volleywood

Over the years there’s a kind of goal I’ve valued more than any other. Volleys. I love me some sweet, sweet volleys. It’s a predilection that’s carried over from real-world football into the virtual football world. One of the reasons I still view PES5 as the best football game ever made is for the variety and richness of its volleys. My first PES5 movie showcases many.

PES is still the game to play for those exquisite first-time rockets. You know the feeling. The ball is falling through the air towards your player. You squeeze the shoot button just so… All being well, it’s almost a sensual pleasure to watch the subsequent volley fly into the back of the net.

Volleys aren’t something that FIFA09 does very well. Actually, that’s not accurate. What I should say is that volleys in FIFA09 aren’t something that I do very well. It has to be admitted that in many areas (too many areas) PES is still my paradigm, my yardstick, my instinctive measure of what’s right and normal and ‘proper’. This is wearing off as the years pass and the balance of power between the two games continues to shift. But at the moment, PES volleys are still the way I want to volley. And FIFA09 won’t let me.

I do get it right sometimes. Before we get into looking at the replays, I would like to reiterate that I’m still using almost all semi-assisted/manual controls in FIFA09. Through-balls are the only control still on the default fully assisted setting. Both of the volleys below were scored using semi-assisted shooting. And I’m playing on World Class difficulty.

First up was with Bojan against Manchester United:

Link: Bojan Volley Okay, not exactly a show-stopper. Bojan was right on top of the goal. But it was a start. Consider it an aperitif for the next volley.

The player supplying the cross is my created player, who’s got alarmingly good very quickly. This goal kick-started what turned out to be probably my most satisfying single session on FIFA09 since October last year. Somehow, everything just worked. I didn’t win every match out of the 6-or-so that I played. I lost one, drew one, and won the others. But they were all enoyable matches. Especially some of the goals…

Here’s Pavlyuchenko doing the business against Newcastle. Again, ‘I’ am the player supplying the dainty aerial through-ball that sets up the showbiz volley (and no, this time I didn’t have the patience to upload to EA Sportsworld, hence the digital camera coming into play):

Link: Pavlyuchenko Volley

I can’t begin to say how happy I was with this goal. It was a morale-booster for me in the context of FIFA09. It’s rare enough for me to get a goal from outside the box. Getting a volley, and one that looked so good to boot… I was delighted.

Volleys in FIFA09 are all about timing. One of the most astonishing things that new-style FIFA has done is to show us retrospectively just how arcadey PES is and always has been. You can get away with murder in PES, particularly in the old-school ones, and particularly in my beloved PES5. In truth, you hardly had to bother timing volleys at all. The game would sort it all out for you. Animations could be interrupted in order to execute volleys at any time—resulting in those (in)famous PES ‘shin volleys’.

In FIFA09, timing is absolutely critical. Shoot too early or too late, and you will not be forgiven. The game won’t help you.

The lesson I take from this session is that there is still much for me to discover and enjoy in FIFA09. As I type these words late on Sunday night I am itching to get back on FIFA09. It’s worth noting that this is the first time I have felt like this for many months. Will it last?


  1. Nice, nice volley not-greg. I too find it difficult to time volleys on FIFA, its all part of adjusting I suppose.
    Agreed PES5 was wonderful for volleys. I scored my greatest ever goal on PES5. Had the ball with the right winger inside my half, launched a 50 yard diagonal long ball to the left channel about 25 yards out. My left winger was running onto it, it seemed to take an age to come down and it came down perfectly in my stride; he executes a kind of ‘leaping side volley’ that rocketed, rocketed in off the left upright.
    I’m going to have to dig out my old Xbox and record that replay!

  2. Grilled Seabass—Most often when trying to execute a PES-style volley on FIFA09, my player either inexplicably sends the ball scudding along the turf into the keeper’s hands, or embarrassingly tries a header from 30 yards. I can still count on the fingers of one hand the occasions when I have connected, in the PES style. (I exclude side-footed volleys and scissor-kicks from corners and crosses. But even they seem less common to me in FIFA09 than they were in FIFA08.)

    I didn’t have time last night to do it, but I was going to snip out my favourite PES5 goal of all time, which appears late on in my PES5 compilation linked to in the post and in the ‘Links of Interest’ sidebar over there. It’s a goal that sounds pretty much like the one you describe. Maldini playing at right back floats a long diagonal aerial through-ball to Bergkamp, who dispatches the sweetest volley I’ve ever struck in a football game. From 30 yards. I still smile to look at it. It appears at 3:21. (Sadly the YouTube music police got to that movie and I had to pick a random track to accompany the action, but it’s strangely appropriate.)

  3. The feeling of slamming home a volley really is fantastic. However I have to say it is even more satisfying on FIFA than it ever was on PES. As you said, on the old style PES games the game would help you out to quite a significant degree when pulling off volleys and the like.

    With FIFA although they don’t come along anywhere near as often thanks to that lack of assistance, when you do get one it is really a satisfying moment because you know you had almost full control over what happened.

  4. when u use the r1 button everything becomes ridicously assisted and the ball goes wherever is needed, for a header or for a volley. I don´t like r1 button for that reason and overusing this button is a pain for me when playing against another person. íts the same in pes an fifa, this option should be remove, is ok if it´s only for maken the player run forward, but you should work to give him the ball back, not just press pass button and let the cpu does that for you, even retarding the defenders if neccesary (in fifa too). In this situation is when i feel the arcadey knife, in both fifa and pes, because it makes the path of the game even faster and gives no option at all to the defenders.

  5. stinger—completely off the top of my head, I’d say I could probably fashion a decent goal-bound volley from distance in PES roughly 1 match in 5. (Half-volleys, 1 match in 2.) In FIFA09 it’s 1 match in 50! That’s that way I find it anyway. With so much PSP PES2008 under my belt, it tends to devalue the volley, whereas in FIFA at the moment it goes to the other extreme. I’d love to see some middle ground, but without compromising the need for optimum position and timing. No, I don’t want much, do I…

  6. fjmarlop1—I don’t know which button you mean. I have R1 configured for sprint. I can’t remember what its default function was. Is it the finesse button you mean? (I have that mapped to the right trigger.) If so, I find that in conjunction with semi-assisted the finesse button does make the shot more likely to be on target.

    Both volleys in this post were full-on laces shots without any modifiers used. In the close-up at the end of the second clip you can see the shape of Pavlyuchenko’s foot very clearly. I find that finesse makes the players side-foot the ball, or try to.

  7. sorry, i meant L1 or wichever u use to make one-twos easier, when using L2 you make easy to achieve somthing that is very hard in real life(you ca´t dumb your defenders in real life. Seems that you use this to make pavluchenko run forward and the ball just got back to him with chipping a throgh ball that went just to the rigth place to be shoot quite easily imo (feels more like an animation triggered at some point where the player has little to do more than press shoot ´cause the goal is already decided, not trying to devaluate your goal, just a general feeling whith fifa when scoring goals a little bit different than the usual, they seems to come a little out of the blue sometimes)

  8. fjmarlop1—ah, you do mean the L1 button. And you are correct, this was a one-two move. However, it wasn’t an automatic one-two. In FIFA as in PES I never do the double-press one-two. I always delay the return pass to some degree, and so it was here.

    I am guilty of overusing one-twos, especially ones followed up with aerial through-balls, in FIFA and in PES.

    As this goal was unfolding ‘live’ I had no sense of it being one continuous animation sequence. Rather, the satisfaction I felt was mainly due to it not feeling scripted/animated. It really felt genuine, as if I was the one making it happen. With semi-assisted shooting, as you know, nothing is ever certain.

    Had the game simply decided to let me score this kind of goal at this point of my FIFA09 gaming? Possibly, yes.

    When I score these different kinds of goals in FIFA09, yes, I also feel that they are a bit ‘random’. “What did I do right this time that I did wrong all those other times?” And I can never answer that question.

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